Blogs > Lions Lowdown

One thing you can count on with the Detroit Lions is that they are never, ever boring. Follow the latest news including injuries, roster moves and more here daily from Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche. Plus you'll find regular commentary about the team.


Previewing the Browns

The all-important third preseason game is here, but don't expect the Lions to play their starters into the third quarter like they may have done in the past. They've stayed remarkably healthy so far — most of the first unit and key reserves, anyway. There's no sense chancing that, plus there's enough positions at the back of the roster still up for grabs that the coaching staff will give players the opportunity to win their way on or off the team. That's a good thing. I'll have a position battle breakdown in the paper next week, but there's more competition here than the previous two years combined under Rod Marinelli.

Now, for three things I'll be watching for today:

• The ninth defensive back. In all likelihood, the Lions will keep nine DBs. Cornerbacks Brian Kelly, Leigh Bodden, Travis Fisher and Keith Smith, and safeties Gerald Alexander, Daniel Bullocks, Dwight Smith and Kalvin Pearson are guaranteed spots. No. 9 is up for grabs with corners Dovonte Edwards and Ramzee Robinson and safety Greg Blue in the mix. Secondary coach Jimmy Lake said both Robinson and Edwards have had good camps, but Robinson has been more consistent in games. Edwards rebounded with a good effort last week against the Bengals, but he struggled Week 1 against the Giants. Blue is a monster hitter whose ball skills have gotten perceptively better since last season. Typically, teams lean towards five corners, but both Pearson and Alexander can play nickel corner, which evens the field for Blue. Whoever plays best in the next two games — and contributes the most on special teams — should win the job.

• George Foster. Left for dead after last season than re-signed when no free-agent replacement surfaced, Foster will make his third straight start at right tackle — to many people's surprise. "I ain't a bad player," Foster said. Foster has had one penalty in limited snaps this preseason (his big issue last year) and appears to be closing in on a roster spot, maybe at the expense of Jonathan Scott. Scott was thought to be the Lions' swing tackle, but rookie Gosder Cherilus, breathing down Foster's neck for the starting right-tackle job, has worked on the left side some this preseason. Both Foster and Cherilus should get work with the first team today.

• The punt return. Kind of a rehash of last week's Devale Ellis watch, but the Lions are still trying to identify their punt returner. Marinelli said Aveion Cason is No. 1 for now, but there's an opportunity for Ellis and fellow receiver Brandon Middleton to win that job and solidify a spot on the team. Ellis has gone back for one return each of the first two weeks; one punt sailed out of bounds and he returned the other two yards in a hailstorm of traffic. Middleton went back for a return last week for the first time since his NFL Europe days. That one, too, landed out of bounds. Both players need more opportunity to be properly evaluated.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home